Social media platforms keep you constantly on the edge. Which is the fresh one that is about to get popular? Which is going to die? Which is testing new features month after month after month, and which features will it finally accept?
Social media is a world that’s live and vibrant and unpredictable. But, it’s unpredictable only to a certain extent. Yes, we don’t know which new platform might pop up tomorrow and we don’t know which old platform will be hit by some new disastrous scandal. But, if we observe the trends closely (and we do), we can predict what is likely to happen in 2020. We know what the platforms have been testing, how the user base of each platform changes, and which tactics are growing among marketers. And that’s how we draw conclusions. So here are some things that we predict will change in 2020:
Marketers will turn to TikTok
TikTok has been growing rapidly in the US and outside of it for the past couple of years. In fact, it’s been growing quicker than any other tool and downloaded more often than any other social media app. As of 2019, the app boasts 500 million active users worldwide and 1.5 billion downloads globally, which makes TikTok 9th in terms of social network sites.
TikTok started out as the platform for gen Z and the 41% of TikTok user remain to be under 25. However, with this many users, it essentially covers all demographics.
The introduction of ads to the platform in 2019 means that the platform is ready to become the marketers’ favourite in 2020.
The use of social listening will grow
The use of social listening has been growing in the past couple of years, so, surely, we predict the trend to develop further. There are a number of reasons for why social listening is unlikely to die out: it allows to cover multiple aspects of social media marketing, such as customer service, influencer marketing, social selling. This means, as long as brands keep promoting themselves on social media and people keep discussing brands and reaching out to them on social media, social listening will thrive.
And we know that they do: 90% of social media users reach out to brands on social media, 78% of people that complain to brands on Twitter expect a response within an hour, and 29% of people share their experience with their friends or family when the response from a brand isn’t provided.
Micro-influencer marketing will grow
Influencers marketing is a rock star of social media tactics. Hootsuite’s 2019 trends survey states that 45% of organizations are planning to or have adopted influencer marketing in their digital marketing strategy.
However, there’s a slight change that’s been spotted recently that’s important to point out as we predict it’ll increase in 2020.
Influencers are no longer trusted.
This means big influencers. Micro-influencers ones are still safe, which means that marketers should pay closer attention to the ones that have a small community of engaged followers, as opposed to huge influencers that are perceived more as celebrities at this point.
One could predict that people will start to completely distrust influencers, but so far, this seems unlikely. 74% of consumers still rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions, and it’s not ads that they are trusting.
Live content will thrive
In the past years we’ve seen all social media networks adopting live content. We’ve observed the coming of Facebook live, YouTube live, Instagram live. We’ve seen the viewing hours of live video content rise 65% from 2017 to 2018.
According to Forrester, users watch live video 10 to 20 times longer than on-demand content. This makes live streaming a powerful way to deliver interactive content and make sure people spend more time on social media platforms.
Neil Patel predicts live streaming to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.
There will be less fake news
“Fake news” exploded as the Internet buzzword in 2016, although people had been talking about it long before the scandalous year. In the past years, more and more scandals and debates happened around the fact that social media platforms unwillingly distribute information that’s not true. This seems unavoidable: social media is based on user-generated information that doesn’t go through any fact-checking before being posted. Once posted, it can spread worldwive in hours and affect millions of people. This seems like an unsolvable problem, however, social media platforms have started to try and tackle it.
In 2019, Twitter banned political ads. As Jake stated,
“Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”
The ban includes paid tweets from candidates as well as “political issues” ads.
We expect other social media platforms to follow. Facebook is taking a less direct approach so far, however, they already use technologies and employ people to conduct fact-checking, and plan to expand their efforts in doing so. We predict there will be more regulations for publishers and advertisers, and as a result, we expect (and really hope for) less fake news in 2020.
Social networks will be more mindful of users’ mental health
2019 saw Instagram hiding likes, which started a whole new important trend. Facebook is testing hiding the like count as well, and Twitter might join. Social media platforms have long been criticized for cultivating shallow values and negatively affecting users’ mental health.
Instagram has been taking their first step to fight bullying, mental health problems that are caused by constantly comparing oneself to other users, and social media addiction. The platform is also planning to introduce “away mode” which will nudge people to take breaks and a feature that will warn users if the are about to comment something abusive.
So, in 2020 we expect more challenges for marketers in terms of relying on “likes” to understand the users’ influence, but a better environment for the users themselves.
The infographic below shows all the important predictions for 2020.
Read more: The Future of Social Media: 25 Experts Share Their 2015 Predictions